Suspect in killing spree caught

Michelle Anstett

A man wanted in connection with the murders of up to eight people in Illinois and Missouri was arrested Tuesday near St. Louis.

Nicholas Sheley, 28, of Sterling, was caught in Granite City, about 10 miles north of St. Louis, said Lieutenant Bill Baker of the St. Louis Area Major Case Squad.

Sheley was wanted for the murder of 93-year-old Russell Reed in Rock Falls on June 26 and the murder of Ronald Randall, 65, of Galesburg. He is considered a person of interest in the deaths of four people found in a Rock Falls apartment — two adult males, one adult female and a child — as well as being wanted in Festus, Mo.

A manhunt for Sheley began Thursday after police chased him through a field in rural Whiteside County. Reed’s body was later found in the trunk of his car. Reed died of apparent blunt-force trauma to the head.

Two of Sheley’s relatives — his brother, Josh Sheley, 31, and cousin, Eric A. Smith — are in custody on undisclosed charges.

Sheley was involved in a 2006 murder and also is wanted on a warrant on a home invasion charge alleging he entered a 90-year-old Sterling woman’s home on June 16 and forced her to write checks before leaving with an undisclosed amount of money.

Four bodies were found in a Rock Falls apartment Monday afternoon after someone requested that the residents be checked on. Cause of death, as well as names and ages of the victims, is unknown at this time.

Randall was found near a dumpster at Hy-Vee Food Store in Galesburg on Monday. May reported that a stolen vehicle was recovered in Galesburg, and that a vehicle reported stolen in Galesburg was recovered in another state.

Michelle Anstett can be reached at